29 August 2007

Peak Oil: You Don't Know Jack!

"Jack" is a recently discovered undersea oil field in the Gulf of Mexico that may exceed 15 billion barrels of oil. Given that water covers 2/3 of Earth's surface, it is not unlikely that more oil reserves exist underwater than under dry land.
The mother lode of oil in the deepwater Gulf is so significant that Tahiti and other successful fields in this region are expected to soon produce enough crude to reverse the long-standing decline in US oil production of about 10 percent per year.

Even better, a recent discovery by Chevron has signaled that soon there may be vastly more oil gushing out of the ultradeep seabeds — more than even the optimists were predicting four years ago. In 2004, the company penetrated a 60 million-year-old geological stratum known as the "lower tertiary trend" containing a monster oil patch that holds between 3 billion and 15 billion barrels of crude. Dubbed Jack, the field lies beneath waters nearly twice as deep as those covering Tahiti, and many in the industry dismissed the discovery as too remote to exploit. But last September, Chevron used the Cajun Express to probe the Jack field, proving that petroleum could flow from the lower tertiary at hearty commercial rates — fast enough to bring billions of dollars of crude to market.

...Technological breakthroughs have, decade after decade, revived the perpetually doomed oil industry. "Predicting peak oil," Siegele tells me as we tour the drilling floor of the Cajun Express, "is almost like predicting peak technology" — an exercise, in other words, that to him seems inherently small-minded. Even absurd.
SourceBesides the "Jack" oilfield and other yet to be discovered Gulf fields, there are also many other undersea fields--including Arctic and Antarctic oil fields--currently unexplored. And then, there is all of that oil shale and oil sands that Canada, the US, and other large countries are sitting on.
And don't get me started on all the coal reserves and uranium/thorium reserves spread out across the globe. And please--never! and I mean never!! get me started on all the resources in the solar system, should humans ever grow out of their prolonged, restless, and generally incompetent adolescence.

Peak Oil doesn't know Jack. Peak Oil will soon meet Jack and a lot of other energy resources that will be developed, sooner or later.

Originally published in Al Fin Energy

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5 Comments:

Blogger IConrad said...

As an additional upshot -- the longer we continue to discover supplemental crude supplies, the lower solar, wind & bio-process energy resources have to come in dollars-per-watt before they become sufficiently price-competitive for the market to turn over to them.

The upshot to this is that it means that the more oil we use, the better off the post-oil economy will be in terms of ubiquity of energy resources.

This is a very good thing.

Wednesday, 29 August, 2007  
Blogger Hell_Is_Like_Newark said...

Don't count out new exploration of old fields as well. I started researching companies who were performing deep earth drilling in Appalachia. Most wells in that region were shallow since the rock there is so hard to drill through. Technology has improved as so have the finds. from:
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06289/730457-28.stm
Earlier this year, Ultra Petroleum Corp., a Houston company best known for drilling in Wyoming, sunk an 11,000-foot well in Pennsylvania's Tioga County. The first well in its Appalachia exploration program, the results couldn't have been better. The well was turned on in late May and soon began flowing nearly four million cubic feet a day under extraordinary pressure. By comparison, Appalachia's shallow wells might flow about 20,000 cubic feet a day.

"It takes their wells 200 days to produce what my well does in a day," says Ultra Chief Executive Officer Michael Watford. "It's a whole different profile of production."

Wednesday, 29 August, 2007  
Blogger Will Brown said...

I wonder what the Mountain Folk opinion of oil refineries is?

It would be a pity for the USA to become a crude oil exporter simply because we refuse to expand our existing - and stretched to the limit - domestic oil refinery capacity.

It's all very well to become a non-importer of crude oil, but that doesn't address the growing problem of meeting our expanding demand for refined petroleum products. None of our technology runs on crude oil, after all.

I've long considered all of the declining resources tripe to be the modern equivilent of the religious millenialism that was so prominent in the US a century and more ago. Only less honest.

Thursday, 30 August, 2007  
Blogger al fin said...

Interesting points, thanks all.

US energy policy is certainly screwed to high heaven presently. But that is part and parcel of the overall labyrinthine insanity of an overgrown federal government.

It is not in the best interests of most people for a catastrophic economic disaster to occur as a result of an artificial "peak oil" event.

Such a staged event could easily occur, with devastating consequences, if the transition from petroleum based infrastructure to an infrastructure based upon non-fossil fuel transportation and power generation.

Saturday, 01 September, 2007  
Blogger al fin said...

...if the transition from petroleum based infrastructure to an infrastructure based upon non-fossil fuel transportation and power generation.... is not handled well.

Our arsenal of useable fuels needs to be as large as possible for this transition.

Saturday, 01 September, 2007  

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